Anatomical and functional imaging of myocardial infarction in mice using micro-CT and eXIA 160 contrast agent

Contrast Media Mol Imaging. Mar-Apr 2014;9(2):161-8. doi: 10.1002/cmmi.1557.


Noninvasive small animal imaging techniques are essential for evaluation of cardiac disease and potential therapeutics. A novel preclinical iodinated contrast agent called eXIA 160 has recently been developed, which has been evaluated for micro-CT cardiac imaging. eXIA 160 creates strong contrast between blood and tissue immediately after its injection and is subsequently taken up by the myocardium and other metabolically active tissues over time. We focus on these properties of eXIA and show its use in imaging myocardial infarction in mice. Five C57BL/6 mice were imaged ~2 weeks after left anterior descending coronary artery ligation. Six C57BL/6 mice were used as controls. Immediately after injection of eXIA 160, an enhancement difference between blood and myocardium of ~340 HU enabled cardiac function estimation via 4D micro-CT scanning with retrospective gating. Four hours post-injection, the healthy perfused myocardium had a contrast difference of ~140 HU relative to blood while the infarcted myocardium showed no enhancement. These differences allowed quantification of infarct size via dual-energy micro-CT. In vivo micro-SPECT imaging and ex vivo triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining provided validation for the micro-CT findings. Root mean squared error of infarct measurements was 2.7% between micro-CT and SPECT, and 4.7% between micro-CT and TTC. Thus, micro-CT with eXIA 160 can be used to provide both morphological and functional data for preclinical studies evaluating myocardial infarction and potential therapies. Further studies are warranted to study the potential use of eXIA 160 as a CT molecular imaging tool for other metabolically active tissues in the mouse.

Keywords: contrast agent; imaging; micro-CT; myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Contrast Media*
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology
  • X-Ray Microtomography / methods*


  • Contrast Media